bread basketOnce upon a time we all heard gross stories about restaurant kitchens every so often, but no one talked about it much. Oh sure, there were inspectors who'd come by and make sure restaurant were up to snuff. Sometimes a diner would get horribly ill. But for the most part, it was a lovely ignorance-is-bliss paradise, where we all just pretended nothing horrible was going on behind those kitchen doors. Because, you walked out of Shakey's Pizza alive, didn't you? All right then!

Well, that golden age is over. Now we're living in the Information Age! And that means we kind of DO know what's going on in restaurant kitchens. And we're thinking about it more. And... (shudder). I think sometimes we almost wish we didn't. Take this 20/20 gross-out expose on restaurant kitchens. Here's a handful of dirty restaurant secrets I'm glad I know now -- but also kind of wish I didn't know.

Maybe don't eat the bread in the basket. Supposedly that bread travels -- from another table, and another, and another. I don't know how common this is, but I it makes me appreciate those restaurants that send out fresh, hot bread. Also: Another reason to avoid carbs?

Check the bathroom first. Before you order, check out the restrooms. If they're gross, if the toilet paper is out, if it's dirty, if there's no soap, you may want to make other dinner plans. I know bathrooms can get a little messy during a rush, but imagine a cook going in there... and then coming back out to cook your food.

Be careful ordering fish. Supposedly some restaurants sell some not-so-fresh fish. Beware the fish "special" that looks too cheap to be true. Most fish-serving restaurants can get fresh deliveries daily, but it's still smart to ask when the fish on the menu was caught.

Handle your own doggie bag. More and more restaurants are just handing you some takeout containers at the end of your meal instead of packing your food for you. It saves them time and hassle -- but it's also safer for you, too, not to send your food back to be handled any which way.

Kitchens can be filthy in so many ways. Apparently having sex in the kitchen is a thing. Sex in the pantry, sex in the freezer, sex wherever you can get away with it. I don't know... something tells me most restaurant cooks are working to hard to mess around like that. BUT there seems to be an abundance of filth in restaurant kitchens all over the country. And! Restaurant employees apparently can't put their damn phones down for a minute.

Dining in New York City is pretty safe. Here's at least one city you can count on. Reportedly, 75 percent of Big Apple restaurants get an "A" rating on their inspections now. So look for those letter grades the next time you're visiting here.

 

How safe do you feel eating out?

 

Image via uberculture/Flickr